Category Archives: 2010

Christmas Eve

So, here it is, Christmas Eve.

Actually,  7.00 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

Is it the excitement of the big day tomorrow or the thought of all the work I have to get through between now and then to make the magic happen for the family that has driven me out of my bed at such a stupidly early hour when I’m not working or could it something a bit more mundane? Something like, for instance, the snore meister driving out of my warm, comfy bed once again?

Yup. You got it in one. It’s the snore meister striking again. I could have done a bit of striking of my own but decided that it wouldn’t be good for marital harmony. No amount of bellowing “SHUDDUP!” in his ear or poking him with a sharp elbow made any difference so I got up to chat with you instead.

I’m feeling a bit cheated in the Christmas tree department this year. The tree we got is undoubtedly very beautiful, bedecked as it is in all it’s finery. It isn’t a hump backed tree or suffering from any kind of male pattern baldness, it doesn’t lean awkwardly and is beautifully proportioned, it isn’t stunted in height nor does it go in for streaking by shedding all it’s needles every time everyone looks at it the wrong way.

Sounds like a perfectly well behaved, polite and well brought up tree, doesn’t it.  It just has the one MAJOR fault.

It smells of………..nothing.

Where’s the gorgeous evocative christmas tree smell that fills me with nostalgia and makes my tum tickle with excitement at the thought of Christmas being just a few days away? There isn’t even a whiff of it. Before you ask. No. I didn’t buy a fake tree by mistake.  I know there are some very good ones around but even I’m not that stupid, stressful as it’s been over the last week or two.

Am I?  I’d better go and check. No. It’s definitely real!

I may have to go and squirt toilet cleaner all over it to make it smell of pine and then tie a few cinnamon sticks to it for added depth and then get a dog or two to pee up it for the finishing touches.

My poor posh cat has had a time of it this last week or two.

Firstly, I set about him with a grooming brush and clippers a couple of weeks ago.  Every winter his fur gets matted but this year it was worse than normal so I ended up clipping huge great rugs from each side of him. I’ve since been seen down the local market hawking thses rugs since his fur is as lovely and soft as pashmina. I got a good price for them as well, I can tell you. Great lumps of cat fur are now gracing the doorsteps of local gentry.  I’ve also been selling the fur that I’ve extracted as I’ve combed him to local gypsies who have been sending it to the gnome down the road to weave  into a tapestry for the forthcoming royal wedding. (I’ve been watching too many pantomimes!).

What? Don’t believe me? You don’t think one cat can possibly have had that much fur removed? Well just take a look:

One very Pi55ed off cat

So apart from the shame of being shaved and sporting a very trendy (if I say so myself) mohican. The poor creature has since developed a problem with his ear. I noticed it the other night when he sat under the Christmas tree crying. I thought he was crying because it had no scent and he felt a bit cheated but it turned out he was crying because a lump the size of a grape had appeared in his ear and was clearly causing him great distress.

Off to the vet we popped. The cat had needles stuck into his ears and came out minus 10 mls of blood that they drained off his ear. I came out  minus the £60 they drained off me.  All’s well that end’s well, I hear you thinking.

But no, that would be far too simple. After risking losing my face administering the ear drops as I’d been instructed, I noticed the lump had returned.

Bloody hell!

Back to the vet’s we popped, this time with the cat growling ‘ you’re gonna pay for this, bitch’ under his breath at me all the way.

The vet stuck the needle in his ear again. And again. And again. All the while the cat looked at me malevolently, the threat of retribution in his eye as he held my gaze.  “We need a bigger syringe,” the vet announced. The cat’s legs buckled, as did mine. Poor kitty had a huge needle stuck in his ear followed by another one, this time injecting him with steroid.

Steroid! Don’t give him steriods!! He’ll be wrestling Great Danes to the ground with one paw!  Not to mention what he’s going to do to me when we get home!!

With instructions to give him yet more ear drops, this time in both ears, we were sent away once again, ear and wallet both stinging.

Unsurprisingly, the cat won’t come near me now. He sits on the landing,  kissing his steroid built muscles like a body builder and staring at me as if daring me to approach him. The ear drop game is developing into the sport of cat wrestling.  I think we may start to sell tickets soon. If I’m going to lose my face via the cat’s claws I may as well make some money out of it!

The snow and ice have resolutely stayed with us. As you already know, I love this weather. Not so much when it comes to driving on it but you can’t have everything.

Isn’t it funny how you develop new strategies and adapt behaviours as conditions change?

I used to get in my car and drive away. Easy.

Now I get in my car, sit sideways on the seat and clap my feet together like a seal for a minute or two. Not for the entertainment of passing strangers, or in the hope of getting the odd mackerel thrown to me, you understand. It’s to get rid of all the ice on my boots before I set off driving. One scare too many in the, ‘feet sliding off brake pedal’  department  soon taught me that strategy – and if I get the occasional mackerel as a result then that’s just a bonus, isn’t it?

Just to keep the winter theme going, here are a few more photos:

icy reservoir
winter walk
icy cobweb
icy leaf

And finally: Hasn’t Baby Bunting grown?

Baby Bunting

I want this….no, that……….no, this, that, this, that


Sodding brides!!

I’ve been designing an album for one of this years brides, you remember the one – it’s the one who went nuts because her new MIL changed her shoes before the group shot and the bride asked me to photoshop the original shoes back in. Yeah, right. Get a life, missy.  Actually, I did change the colour of the shoes for her so they didn’t look quite so obvious.

I finished her album last week and emailed it for proofing.  Even if I do say so myself, it looked pretty smucking fart.

Next thing you know I’ve got an email back telling me that it won’t do at all, she doesn’t want borders, shadows or any kind of defining feature on ANY of the photos, they all have to flow into each other. “I don’t want to see a single straight line. And, I don’t like the colour for the pages.”

“What would you like them to be then?” I asked. ” I don’t know, just not that.”  On and on and on went the list of alterations.

She’s added photos, she’s taken away photos, wants the layout changed, basically it’s start from scratch and completely redesign the book, which, incidentally I was very careful to design as per her original specification.. Am I a happy Bunny?

I’d have to say not.

I knew this bride was going to be a tricky one but she’s exceeded all my expectations by a country mile.  I’ve already prewarned her that the next lot of alterations is going to cost.  So, I’ve spent the whole morning working on her album according to her new instructions and it looks like a bag of shit (pardon my French).  I’m just waiting for her to tell me to put it all back to the original. Just watch me reach for my calculator invoice pad when she does.

So, talking of bags of shit – lets discuss our septic tank. The chaps came and emptied it on Friday as you know. As far as I was concerned that was the end of it until a lorry trundled down our track yesterday evening. Out jumped the septic supervisor wearing his blue tooth headset which he obviously loves and thinks that it makes him look ever so cool (trust me – it doesn’t).

I noticed when he came last week and also yesterday that he bears an striking resemblance to my first husband both in looks and mannerisms. I had to work really hard not to dislike him just on that basis alone ( and the bluetooth earpiece).  Anyway, back to the plot, it turns out that the tank is in dire need of repair. Where the hell do you go for septic tank repairs? Do they even repair them, it it going to cost us a new tank? Oh no!!!!

The chap had made a point of coming back to tell us that the tank needed repair rather than just let us find out when we were paddling in poo Wasn’t that really nice of him? I was so impressed.  Having got the business out of the way  hahaa   ‘got the business out of the way’ – hahaaaa pun not intended but soooo funny – I’m still chuckling!!   Ahem.

Having got the business out of the way, and indulging him  in a bit of small talk as he didn’t seem keen to leave, it turns out that he is actually related to ex hubby.  Fancy that, there are two of the buggers after all!


Boofuls and me went out for a lovely Italian meal last night.  He ordered his normal steak and chips, as normal the steak turned up at the table still mooing. We can’t understand what is so difficult to understand about, “I’d like my steak medium please.” Maybe Boofuls should headbutt the waiter on every syllable while he’s ordering:  ME  –  DE  –  UM!! He might get the idea then and pass it on to the chef.

His dinner went back for more cooking, it was subsequently returned to a grumpy Boofuls who then declared it to be delicious (but the chips are boring!).  My meal was as normal very nice, smoked fish platter followed by cod in a ‘something I can’t remember the name of ‘and pesto sauce. Slurp.  One large and one small glass of wine later and I  was at peace with the world. So much at peace that I fell asleep in front of the telly about 8.30 and stayed there till Boofuls woke me with order to get to bed. That was the last I remember til 6.30 this morning.  This pot filling job at work is killing me off.

We spent all weekend working again. Sunday was hard because we were short of staff, no one likes to work on a Sunday do they? Neither do we but hey ho, needs must.

C drafted in Machine Gun and a couple of her other friends to come in and work, they were brilliant!  It made  a huge difference. The rumour mill tells me that Machine Gun is aching a bit today, he’s not used to physical work.  Bless.

You’re less interesting than a dog treat

‘Gee, thanks for that’, I thought as I walked round and round the circuit at the dog club trying to get the poochie to walk to heel. She does it beautifully till she gets her gnashers round the treat (and usually my finger), then she’s off like a whippet and no amount of “Heel, heel HEEL!!” will get her back until another treat appears.

So much for my new career as a dog whisperer.

Have you noticed I’ve been a bit lax on the blogging front this week. No? Tsk. That’s because it’s less interesting than……..

Actually, it’s because suddenly the world has speeded up and I can’t keep up with it all. Yesterday Boofuls and me went to a BIPP seminar in Warrington.  On the last minute as normal, we made a small detour into the drive through Maccie D’s at Lymm services for a sawdust burger and salty fries. We forced the, laughingly called, food down our throats and swigged out of bottles of orange juice rather than stop for a proper lunch so we could get there at the appointed time, 12.30 pm.

Walking in at exactly 12.30 we appeared to be the only people there apart from the committee and sponsors. “Have I got this wrong, are we early?” I asked.   “No, it’s just a bit quiet yet, plenty of time.”

Eventually a few other people came in and the seminar got started.  After the fist half hour I’d lost the will to live. The chairs were hard and uncomfortable and I kept shifting about in my seat trying to get comfortable and also trying not to take a swing at the smart Alec who seemed to be intent on asking stupid and irrelevant questions in between bouts of pedantry and obnoxiousness. I’d clocked this guy on the way in because of his body language, and he performed exactly as I thought he might. Fool.  What’s the point of paying to see an expert if all you’re going to do is argue the toss with them on every issue.

After the coffee break we settled in for the second part which was brilliant. I have learnt so much about marketing and presentation within my own industry. It was so valuable!!  Of course I’ve been doing it all as wrong as it’s possible to get, up until now.  No wonder I’m not a millionaire………yet.  I’ve started making the changes already and I’m really excited by it. Isn’t it funny how obvious things are when they are pointed out to you?

I can hear you thinking it;  ‘Oh yes, she got whipped into a frenzy by a marketing guru, it’ll all come to nowt.’  Well, actually, the couple  who delivered the seminar are photographers who have successfully run their business for years and are happy to encourage others as well as give some helpful advice, and I for one was very grateful.

Anyway, blah, blah…. it was fab. However it didn’t finish till 10pm then it took us 40 minutes to get home.  N had made us a shepherds pie for tea and I don’t think he was too impressed that we weren’t there to eat it. We had it tonight instead though and it was gorgeous. I’m not sure he was totally truthful when he told me he’d only put a tiny bit of butter in the mash.  Hhhmm, who’s definition of tiny, I wonder?

Of course I had so much running through my mind that I  was awake all night  and  felt like I’d  only got about three hours sleep.

At our dance lesson this morning I need two cups of coffee just to get me going.  We did a  quick run through of the samba and then on to cha cha cha.  Boofuls and our teacher found it highly amusing that I had forgotten a very simple step and couldn’t get it right for the life of me. I was concentrating so hard that my tongue was stuck out for  a good half of  the lesson. Not elegant I know but a surprisingly good aid to concentration (??!!).

A change of music soon sorted it out. None of this poncy, orchestrated, string music pretending to be a latin rhythm for me. Give me a good, solid, earthy, sexy, latin beat and I’ll swing my tushi with the best of ’em.  What a fantastic way to start the day!!  You can’t help but be in a good mood after that.

We are apparently going to have meteor showers tonight so I’m going to get some warm clothes on and get outside for a look.  Let’s hope the clouds stay away long enough for us to see something.

Biblical times?

The days are flying past at the moment, I’m busy all the time but actually I don’t seem to be getting any further forward. What’s going on?

This warm and wet weather has gone on an on for the last month – since the very day that the hosepipe ban was introduced, actually. Do you think that the wallah’s at North West Water have been doing rain dances?   I think they can probably stop now, if we have much more water we’ll be in grave danger of being washed away.

The weather has caused an increase of biblical proportions in the local slug and snail population, it’s increased to plague proportions in recent weeks.  The big planter by the front door has about 20 deceased (murdered by me with the help of a pack of slug pellets) slugs and snails, all bubbling away in their own slime. It’s really quite disgusting and I really do need to move them but even the thought of it makes my stomach churn.   It’s not the best welcome for visitors, is it, picking their way through the mountains of slug corpses?


It was a bit parky round here on Saturday night, or maybe that was just me. I’m not altogether sure but I’m thinking I may have had a mild case of chicken pox courtesy of  number 2 grand daughter.  The banging, woozy head and general flu like symptoms were all good clues although I’m glad to say that the spots have been popping up and going down fairly quickly.  Anyway, due to my general feeling of yukkiness, I had an early night on Saturday, settling down quickly for a welcome sleep.

During the night I woke up because the palms of my hands were burning hot. Now when I say burning hot let’s now understate this. I mean flame grilled bbq hot.

Throwing back the covers to cool down it took me a nano second to realise that it was really cold out so the duvet was quickly restored to it’s former position while I attempted to keep all of me covered except for my hands which I left sticking out of the covers like I was being held at gunpoint by an invisible assailant.

The burning continued and even got worse. The palms of my hands were bright red and all attempts to cool them down were failing dismally.

Not being one to be over dramatic about these things I decided that it was stigmata and was watching closely for the holy wounds to appear.  B’s, slightly less extreme diagnosis suggested that it might be something to do with the white spirit that I’d used to clean the paint from my hands with earlier in the day.  Whatever it was, and I far prefer my version even if it is a tad less credible,  I ended up filling the bathroom sink full of cold water at 3 in the morning and and bathing my poor hands until the worst of the burning had passed.  By morning they were back to normal as if nothing had happened. Strange, eh?

Yay!! It’s 2010!!

2009 has finally buggered off and good riddance to it, what a bag of crap!! This year will be loads better, I can feel it in my water.

The plan was to become a lemming and copy everyone else’s idea of doing a New Year round up of stories and pictures from last year. Exactly like all those ‘run up to New Year’ programmes on telly that I avoid like the plague.

That was the plan. The reality was that I spent a huge chunk of yesterday on the phone to my sister who is having the crisis to rival all crises at the moment and all she can really do is watch it run it’s course. Small comfort to her while she’s tearing her hair out and gnashing her teeth in despair. Funny how the year ended as it started – and continued –  with drama’s.

Anyway, back to the plot.  Taaaadaaaaaaaa!!! Here it is, my ( somewhat shorter than planned) :

 2009 Round Up:
Now don’t worry, it’s not going to be a moan fest of all the terrible things that happened last year. The blogosphere isn’t big enough to fit it all in. Here are just a  few of my favourite moments

This was a summer walk on the moors with the girls. We had a brilliant time and this photo just reminds me of it.  Family time – nowt better!

My lovely friend, Sheila took these family pics for us. Brilliant!!! I have a large copy of this one on my landing and it makes me smile every time I see it.  Thanks, Sheila.

Halloween photo shoot.  We love a bit of dress up.  I was amazed the pics turned out as well as they did considering that the shoot lasted about a minute. Did you know the attention span of a baby is about a nanosecond?  You have to work really fast before they get bored and try to tip over light stands or electrocute themselves.

John and Rachel’s wedding.  We had the best time ever. Just being  a guest and joining in with the wedding party was fab. Good food, good company, good hotel, good times. Loved it.

For someone who spent all her time at college saying that landscape photography, “just isn’t my thing” I seem to have produced a lot of it this year. Far too many to put on here.  It’s so relaxing and cathartic. You should try it.

This photo was used a s a magazine cover – and I forgot to tell you about it!! God, I’m getting so forgetful!  The exotic location was – our drive.  The magazine editor was mortified when she thought I’d gone out and shot images specially for the magazine, so mortified she gave me a full page editorial in it and a discounted advert. I did tell her I only stepped outside my front door to take it not travelled to Goa or anything but the was adamant. Yay!!!  We had some amazing sunsets last year.

I could have put so many other pictures that bring back nice memories of last year.  I could have included a few pics from my birthday party. You know the one, it was the one when we had a murder mystery dinner party and I made everyone classic martini’s. No one liked them so I drank the lot. Oh, so very ill. Must have eaten a bad pie!!

 I thought I’d end with pictures from the last day of last year.

B and me took the girls and the dog for a walk to Darwen tower. Not that it was icy or anything but here is the path:

Heeheee, the dog ran down the path then lost her footing and slid about 20 yards on the ice on her backside. Laugh? I nearly bought a round!  We, on the other hand, clambered over the moor because the path was so dangerous. Poor girls thought they were going for a nice stroll and it turned into a mountain climb.  No mean feat for a child with O’s issues. She constantly amazes me. She’ll have a go at anything! The dog tried her best to melt the ice for us by peeing on it every ten yards or so. Not terribly effective but full marks for trying, dog.

Can you see the little figures up on the horizon? That was a family with a couple of small kids. The father in his wisdom decided that the safest way of getting his small son down the hill was to carry him on his shoulders. What?!!  Refer  to pic of frozen path. Dangerous, much!!

Look! We did it!!
They really did do it as well, when we got to the tower we went to the very top. D was in tears because she was scared of the dark, dank, spiral staircase.   B stayed with her while I took O to the top. When we came back, D had plucked up some courage and decided that she wanted to go  to the top as well. I was so proud of her because I could see she was terrified.  When she got there, she loved it!!!  Well done D for conquering your fears!!!

So, ok, 2009 wasn’t all bad, but  a lot of it was and I’ll be glad of the new start that a New Year offers.  So to end  this  ( short) round up I’d like to dedicate this final image to last year:

 See ya 2009.
Good riddance.